Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Alien Owlet Calls

Moonlight bouncing off fog banks between Butano Ridge and Long Ridge.
Owlet with your silly call, some type of cross between a tweet, a whistle and a screech.  When your parents patiently coach you with their hooo hooo ho-hoo ho-hoo, I can usually find them in the dark.

If the hoot is from the backyard, the great-horned owl is in the dead tree.  The front yard - on the telephone pole in the orchard.  A little farther out - then on one of the fence posts along the driveway.  My puny human ears can somehow triangulate their deep adult hoots.  And I've learned their favorite roosts over four years of moonlit visits.

Adult great-horned owls are easy to spot against the night sky.
But you, with that high juvenile call every 3 seconds, I can tell when you turn your head, but I can't find you.  It's sorta scary when your parents suddenly stop calling - some rodent is about to meet its maker and you get to eat breakfast if you ever stop squeaking.

When I turn off the music, all those people sounds, your alien song lures me out on these sweet summer nights.  The moon is getting fuller and I just can't resist prowling around in the semi-dark trying to find you.

Near the western boundary of the Dipper Ranch, a line of Douglas fir trees backlit by a "moonbank".
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a recording of both adult and juvenile great-horned owls.


  1. Dang lady, look at that amazing world you live in.


    Just Another Night Owl

  2. oh, MY what a stunning shot. I didn't even get it at first (the last shot). And what a cool story. I wonder if it's NOT a coincidence that the higher pitched sound is harder to triangulate than the deep hooting. Sure is beneficial...

    Lovely story. I wonder if we should wander after dark, see (hear) what we can find.

  3. Thanks for sharing a scene that few people get to ever see. That's a really beautiful place living on a ridge. The juvenile sounds a world apart from the adults. We've had gulls nesting on our roof and I can't wait for them to leave.

  4. Gulls on your roof. Yikes, that sounds noisy and messy. I had vultures hanging out on the barn roof for a little bit last summer/fall but only for part of the day. Sure scared the cats. The moon kept me up a lot last week, so I was lucky enough to see the fog banks glowing and got up and set my camera on a tripod for about 2 hours of playing.

  5. Lovely! Both the photos and the post. Thanks.

    --Patricia Lichen, http://www.patriciaklichen.com/


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